You’ve done the research, you’ve reviewed a proposal, and you like what you see. The John Hancock’s have been exchanged and your new B2B tech PR firm says they are off the races. Great, what now?
For a PR agency partnership to be successful and beneficial to your company’s bottom line, the groundwork for what success looks like needs to be established from day one. Can you expect regular calls? Is someone creating a PR plan? When can we anticipate our first piece of media coverage? All of these questions should be addressed from the start – if that’s not the case, it’s time to dig into your partnership a bit deeper. And, for fair reason – enlisting a PR firm isn’t encouraged by all, but with the right partner and a clear expectation for what long-term and short-term success is, engaging with a firm can absolutely impact your business in a positive way.
So, what can you expect from your new B2B tech PR firm in month one? Here are three things your PR firm should deliver to help pave the road for your next or first-ever agency relationship:
Deep-Dive Into Your Business
You hired a PR firm for their media expertise, no doubt, but what about your business? It’s essential a new PR firm is making an active effort to learn your business in month one. If new to an agency, anticipate a lot of questions, but not just to your marketing team. A successful agency will also ask for interview time with product and sales teams in order to get a full picture of your business and its wins or struggles.
Research should include a deep dive into competitor coverage and the current media landscape – your PR team should be tracking competitor news regularly and making reactive media outreach as appropriate. Additionally, is your PR firm asking for regular story-mining sessions with your internal experts? They should be. While PR firms are subject matter experts when it comes to media, they will never know more about your business than your internal assets, so make sure your PR team is utilizing them! B2B PR teams should be digging for insights early on to shape their understanding of your business. This will allow your team to better plan campaigns and properly present interview/content opportunities to their media contacts.
Mutual Goal Setting
Like any solid relationship, mutually-aligned goals build the foundation for trust and growth – same applies to your agency relationship. Whether your goals with PR are recruiting, raising visibility among investors, or increasing your company’s referral traffic, it’s crucial for marketing goals to be identified early on with your PR firm so efforts are pointed in the right direction.
Taking it a step further, is your PR team asking you about goals you’ve already set that drive bigger business impact? Maybe your sales team is struggling to show value when prospecting, or perhaps you’ve been strapped with pulling in more qualified leads to the website – your PR firm can help. Whatever the goals, your PR team should be plugged in from the start and plan strategically around reaching your internal goals with media relations efforts.
Once goals have been established, PR teams should be planning around those goals based on their expertise. Look for a plan that includes all company initiatives like announcements, industry events, company blog content that can be pitched to media as thought leadership, and original campaign ideas based on your firm’s industry insights and how those apply to your business.
Lastly, your team should be expect reporting on those goals. I’m not talking an email that says “talked to three media contacts and generated awareness among media outlet X, Y and Z.” I’m talking goal measurement, a full view into media activity and its impact on website traffic and goal conversions, and key learnings.
Movement with Media
Would your CEO jump for joy if he saw your company name on Business Insider or Fast Company? Maybe it’s more like WIRED or the likes of Harvard Business Review – whatever the outlets may be, they should be identified as ‘wish list’ media outlets your agency will be chasing after. Firms should be pulling these media ‘wish lists’ early on and sharing with your team for approval to ensure there’s mutual alignment. But, that’s not where it stops. In the first 30-days, is your PR firm touching base with their media friendlies to alert them of your joining as a new client? One major reason to enlist a PR firm is for their tight-knit media relationships to get candid feedback from those contacts, and those should be utilized early on.
In addition to touching base with media friendlies, your new firm should initiate some form of proactive pitching in month one with the goal of media coverage in that same time frame instead of waiting for company news in the form of a “press release.” Remember, in the world of media relations, PR need not equal press release, only.
Make sure your PR team is striving for early media coverage to show quick impact. And, with a new relationship don’t hesitate to pose the question of “What can I expect in terms of media coverage early on in our relationship.”
Like what you see? Let’s get talking about how our B2B tech PR firm can get the ball rolling in only 30 days!
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